Friday, July 10, 2015

Gettin' Our Kicks: Chapter 32 – Days 29 to 31 Lafayette to New Orleans

Three Days in New Orleans

Sounds like an article in the United Airlines On-board Magazine…

July 3 to 5, 2015

July 3rd

The ride to New Orleans was another hot and humid day. We pretty much stayed off of the Interstate and used US 90, a few local roads and then on to I310, followed by a short section of I10 into the French Quarter. By the time we got into New Orleans it was categorically hot and humid – welcome to New Orleans.

Around noon-ish we made a gas and food stop at Wilson’s Kountry Korner on Bull Run Road in Schriever, LA – a gas station, country store and diner, with good local food. I had a fried oyster Poboy, first Poboy for me in a very long time. It was not healthy, but certainly good. The remainder of the ride to New Orleans was uneventful and we even managed to miss the bad traffic.

Photo courtesy of the Web

Once off Interstate 10, it was a short ride through the French Quarter to our hotel. We stayed at the Le Richelieu Hotel right in the heart of the French Quarter, but in a vastly quieter section than Bourbon Street. The Le Richelieu is an old French style hotel that is very well maintained, and the staff is friendly, engaging and professional. It is a two-block walk to Bourbon Street, Jackson Square and the River Walk along the Mississippi – yet, far enough from all the madness of Bourbon Street, but an easy walk to the madness. 

After checking in and getting settled we needed water and beer – our normal post hot and humid ride day. It was happy hour in the bar – what luck! Judith was introduced to Abita Amber - a mainstay in LA, and a damn good beer.

We struck up a conversation with a neighborhood local, Eric, who gave us a few tips on marvelous local places to eat, all within a couple of blocks.

Dinner was at Mona Lisa, an Italian place as you might guess, with a full-on Mona Lisa theme. The walls were covered with all sorts of variations on the Smiling Lady. Good food and too much, again.

July 4th – Happy Fourth of July

Breakfast at another recommendation by Eric – Croissant d’or Patisserie. This old French Bakery has the Croissants like you’d find in France. 

Croissant d’or Patisserie
Breakfast on the Courtyard

After breakfast we did a long walkabout through, through the French Market, along the River Walk next to the Mississippi, to Jackson Square and then Royal and Bourbon Streets. It was still hot and humid, but I guess that’s New Orleans in July. Therefore we needed to re-hydrate at Pat O’Brian’s – water and a Bloody Mary.

The French Quarter is very walk able and exceptionally colorful – both the people and the buildings. It is abundantly entertaining.

It was time to re-hydrate later in the afternoon and happy hour had started up again in the hotel bar. We meet two couples from the Bay Area – Belmont and Pacifica. It was old home week for a couple of hours.

They had a flight to catch and we decided to go to dinner at yet one more of Eric’s joints, the Mojo Lounge,  which also turned out to be perfect.

Along the Mississippi

Old Jax Brewery - now shops and restaraunts

More NOLA color

The long line up at Café du Monde

Jackson Square with St. Louis Cathedral in the background

Panoramic of Jackson Square

General Jackson and St. Louis Cathedral

Bloody Mary's at Pat O'Brian's

Side entrance at Pat O'Brian's

Lots of Voodoo in NOLA

A young Trombone player on his way to a gig

Mojo Coffee House: Picture from the Web

The fireworks are set off from barges on the Mississippi and were scheduled to start at 9:00 and we walked down to the River Walk to get a spot at about 8:00. It was already packed – no surprise. We found a good spot to stand for the next hour and at exactly 9:00 the first skyrocket fired off. I should saw two fire rockets fired off because there were two barges on the river about half a mile apart shooting off synchronized fire works. It was a great show that lasted a little more than 30 minutes with the customary grand finale. At that point about 30,000 people turned around to exit the River Walk. We managed to make it back to the Le Richelieu unscathed, had a nightcap and off to bed.

July 5th

Back to the Croissant d’or Patisserie for breakfast – why mess with a good thing.

Then after breakfast we had another walkabout over to the Warehouse and Arts District on the other side of Canal Street.

Contrast - the bank building in the front was built in 1847. The high rise office building behind the bank was built sometime in the last 10-12 years.

Civil War Museum

Lee Circle (Robert E. Lee)

Changing Faces in the Warehouse District

Ach Scheiße!

Serious Smoker

Casual method to sight see

More NOLA color

You can't walk far without seeing an interesting balcony

It was once again brutally hot and humid. Once back to the hotel I took a nap for an hour and a half.

We had planned to walk about two blocks to Maison, a Cajan Restaurant with live life Jazz when the heavens opened up with a spectacular lighting storm. Getting to dinner was postponed for about 90 minutes. Finally, the storm let up and we made it to the restaurant in a mild sprinkle. The food was good - I had a second Poboy, a pulled pork Poboy this time and Judith had a scrumptious mushroom Poboy, plus the fries were great.  The local Jazz players were also good.

Local Jazz at Maison
Tomorrow we bid adieu to NOLA and head to Natchez, MS.

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